Vigna subterranea (also known by its common names Bambara groundnut, Bambara-bean, Congo goober, earth pea, ground-bean,or hog-peanut), is a member of the family Fabaceae. The plant originated in West Africa. Vigna subterranea ripens its pods underground, much like the peanut (also called a groundnut). They can be eaten fresh or boiled after drying.
Bambara groundnut is a legume; its origin have been traced back to Africa, and it is the third important legume; however, it is one of the neglected crops. It is highly nutritious, and has been termed a complete food. Its seed consist of 49%-63.5% carbohydrate, 15%-25% protein, 4.5%-7.4% fat, 5.2%-6.4% fiber, 3.2%-4.4% ash and 2% mineral compared to whole fresh cow milk 88% moisture, 4.8% carbohydrate, 3.2% proteins, 3.4% fat, 0.7% ash, and 0.01% cholesterol.
Its chemical composition is comparable to that of soy bean. Furthermore, BGN has been reported to be a potential crop, owing to its nutritional composition, functional properties, antioxidant potential, and a drought resistant crop.
Bambara groundnut milk had been rated higher in acceptability than milk from other legumes like soybean and cowpea. Probiotics have been defined as live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amount confer a health benefit on the host.
These benefits have been reported to be therapeutic, suppressing the growth and activity in conditions like infectious diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease.
The nutritional profile of BGNM is high enough to sustain the growth of probiotics. Bambara groundnuts are normally boiled and salted, eaten as a relish or roasted, and eaten as a snack.
Hence, Bambara groundnut, can also be fermented with lactic acid bacteria to make a probiotic beverage that not only increase the economic value of the nutritious legume but also help in addressing malnutrition.